Release Date: June 5, 2012
Age Range:Young Adult
It all happens on just an ordinary day. Dean and his little brother Max are picked up by the schoolbus which brings them to the high and elementary school. And then the hailing starts, not just tiny hail, but big rockets of hail which makes that the bus is crashed, and that it collapses to its side .Dean’s bus can’t go further, as the driver and a lot of kids in it are so badly wounded and possibly already dead. The kids who are not injured try to escape to the elementary school bus of Mrs. Wooly,which was right behind them and isn’t damaged that much. Mrs. Wooly drives the kids to the big chain supermarket which is abandoned by the staff.
They are dropped of by Mrs. Wooly who doesn’t stay but is going to look for help. The fourteen kids are on their own now, trapped in a locked down and abandoned supermarket. And then the next disaster happens: an earthquake. The children find a working television in the store which they use to find out what happens in the outside world, and they learn that a big cloud of chemical poison is coming their way. The kids have to stay inside till help comes and to stay safe from what is going on outside as the chemical cloud is making people aggressive and murderous. Till they know its safe, they have to make the best of living inside the store, and that is kind of easy with everything they need within their reach. A huge store isn’t the worst place to be stranded. There’s food and water,toys, bedding and books. But what if it’s not safe to leave ever again? And..what happened to their parents and family?
I often wonder what would happen if something like this would happen. What would I do? How would I go about living? I normally really dislike apocalyptic stories as they freak me out a bit. So yeah I wasn’t sure if I would like this book as I came to the part of the chemical cloud. But I continued reading, and I must say it became a little boring after the chemical cloud part, because then the book was mainly about the fourteen kids locked in the store, and what they where doing on a daily basis. Two times someone from the outside world knocked on the door, but wasn’t let in. And so the book continued till the end, the very open end which left me a little frustrated because the author doesn’t let the reader know what happens with the children and if they will ever find their parents again in the cruel turned outside world. So I do hope there will be a sequel or follow up as I as a reader found it a little weird that when the kids got the chance to go outside and go and find their parents again, they got back into the store. The idea of the story was really ok, but the author didn’t continue the tension through the whole book. The characters though where okay, I really liked how the older kids took care of the little ones and they became sort of a family. And I liked the style of writing, but the end was just to open.
Q and A with Emmy Laybourne
What inspired you to write Monument 14?
I'm a very optimistic person, I swear it, but I'm always thinking about strategy in case a natural disaster strikes! I had a game I used to play with an ex-boyfriend, where we'd imagine that the world was ending and we had to choose what stuff to bring up to a mountain cabin. Everything had to fit in one pick-up truck and we'd each list the necessities and non-essentials (like musical instruments and art supplies) we would bring.
I'd say that Monument 14 came out of my fascination for the survivalist mentality. I wanted to put teens in a difficult, dramatic situation and I also wanted to see how they would figure out how to survive and take advantages of their resources.
What were the challenges (literary, research, psychological, and logistical) in bringing the book to life?
The darkness of the book was a challenge for me. It is a scary, depressing world I've put my nice characters into. Sometimes it got too heavy and tense, even for me, and I was the one making it up!
I faced some literary challenges when I strayed too far off the outline I was working on in the first draft of the second half of the book. I allowed the timeline to meander and roam and the second half of the book alone came in at 350 pages. When my Editor, Jean Feiwel read it, she told me I needed to compress all the action into 10-125 pages! It was a shock at first, but I really sat with her critique and in then end, I knew she was completely right. The rewrite was actually easy - the story had a was it wanted to be tons, and once I got with the program, it tumbled out beautifully.
What was the timeline from spark to publication, and what were the significant highlights along the way?
I wrote a proposal for Monument 14 which included the first 165 pages of the book. That took about 4 months. My agent took it out and we sold it. Man, that was a highlight! I couldn't believe I had actually sold a novel! It took me another 14 months to complete the book - due to the aforementioned giant rewrite. All told, it took just under two years.
What did you read as a teen, which authors inspired you the most? And which are your favorite books and authors now?
I read EVERYTHING as a teen. Some all time favorite novels include: Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel (a must read if you've never cracked My uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl (a wicked comic tale for grown-ups by the beloved Chocolate Factory and Giant Peach author) and when I was sad or depressed, I'd go and read the Little House series! That always pepped me right up.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I write musical theater; I teach comedy improv and writing and I take care of my two kids. I have an 8 year old girl and a 5 year old boy. They're funny and wild and occasionally well-mannered but frequently not! I got a lot of inspiration for the crazy way the little kids in M14 act from my own little cuckoo birds.
What would you do if an extreme weather situation like in the book occurred?
I hope that I would act fast and be smart, but you never know in a crisis. I could be like Josie, just sitting and wailing in the hailstorm - or I might get freaked out and immobilized the way Dean did. Of course, I'd like to think I'd act like Niko - brave and efficient.
The end of Monument 14 left me with one question: is there going to be a sequel someday and will we learn what happens next to the children?
You got it, Marjolein! The sequel is called Monument 14 Book Two: Sky On Fire. It will come out in the summer or fall of 2013. I hope you and all your readers will enjoy it - I promise that it will be as full of thrills and drama as the first one!
MarjoleinBookBlog is giving away a copy of Monument 14!
The giveaway is open to US and Canada and till July 25. You can only enter one time (multiple entries will be deleted)but you can get one extra entry by spreading the word about this contest (blog, facebook, twitter) and when you become a follower of my blog
Fill in this contest form to be entered